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New Senate Bill 1513 Would Bolster State And Local Reentry Programs For Ex-Offenders

| June 5, 2015

In a press release yesterday, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) announced a new bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Second Chances Act of 2008, a law that bolsters state and local reentry programs for ex-offenders, which can help reduce recidivism, save taxpayer money, and preserve public safety.

According to the release, SB1513–the Second Chances Reauthorization Act–continues targeted funding of local and state programs through 2020 that have been proven to “reduce recidivism, lead to better outcomes for those released from prison, and save prison costs.”

SB1513–strengthened from its previous iteration–would also provide separate “planning and implementation grants” to ensure that any such reentry programs are well developed and functioning properly, add “nonprofit organizations to allowable grantees for grants for programs promoting family-based substance abuse treatment,” and repeal “several provisions calling for studies that have been completed and removes support for programs for which other funding sources have been identified.”

This latest version of the Second Chances Reauthorization Act builds on the last Congress’ bill–SB1690–which had 22 co-sponsors from both parties, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. According to Sen. Portman, the bill will “send a message that there’s a better way than living a life of crime”:

“It tells ex-offenders that if you want to turn your life around and become a productive member of society, we want to help. Rather than incarcerating repeat offenders in the same communities generation after generation, we can put our taxpayer dollars to better use to break this vicious cycle and turn lives around.”

Sen. Leahy echoed those thoughts:

“With more than two million people behind bars, and 650,000 ex-offenders being released each year, we need to reauthorize these critical programs that reduce crime and increase public safety.  Investing in these services has been proven to reduce recidivism and bring down prison costs.  It is also the right thing to do.”

The full press release can be found here.



MICHAEL HAUGEN is a policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and its Right on Crime initiative.

His work for the Foundation has focused primarily on criminal justice reform topics, particularly civil forfeiture, prison reform and justice reinvestment, mens rea reform, occupational licensing, and various law enforcement and privacy issues. He’s also written about federal corporate subsidies, school choice, and gun rights.

Haugen is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Pre-Medicine Option, and a minor in Chemistry. He also holds an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from North Idaho College. At EWU, he participated in academic research in a molecular microbiology laboratory for two years, investigating genetic virulence factors and pathophysiology in microbes.

His writing has appeared in National Review, The Hill, Townhall, Washington Examiner, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, Trib Talk, RedState, Ricochet, and Breitbart Texas.